Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Illusion of Competition, by David


David Chronowski, USA
It happens in any group or organization you might join. The people you work alongside are your good friends, the ones you go to for advice or support. Then one day someone does something better than you or a task comes much easier to them. That annoying twinge of competition bubbles to the surface.
I'd like to say that I don't care about competition, that it doesn't bother me and never has. But through my experiences of working within the international community at the Shang Rinpoche Center, I've experienced different variations of being competitive. For example, I've been competitive with several other foreigners about attention they receive, and how many of their ideas are taken seriously and adopted by the group. Thoughts of jealousy quickly swell.
However, the competitive edge I have never lasts. Why? Because you come to realize that everyone you work with has their strong and weak points. You can't compete with them because there is nowhere to go. There is no higher position to climb to. Each group member acts as a mirror. In one moment we see something another person does and we want to be like that, but in another moment we see their weak point and we'd rather not act like that.
Our lives fluctuate day to day. As human beings it's impossible not to be affected by the weather and our emotions. While an individual might be doing really well one day, they could be completely flipped upside down the next day. When you feel a sense of competition, all you can do is observe yourself and ask what do they have that I want, and how long will this feeling last?
These feelings are inherent to the human condition, so if I hadn’t had these experiences, I may have gone through life never noticing these subtler thoughts and feelings. The way that Rinpoche teaches us allows this slow awakening of the mind’s potential to be as natural as breathing itself.

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